SOAS University of London

Inaugural Events of the Centre for Ottoman Studies

28 May 2014

We are delighted to invite you to celebrate the Inauguration of the Centre for Ottoman Studies at SOAS.

The Centre for Ottoman Studies is an interdisciplinary centre dedicated to the study of the Ottoman Empire and its legacies in post-Ottoman societies. Building upon the rich history of scholarly engagements with the Ottoman Empire and its successors at SOAS, the Centre’s primary purposes are to promote research and teaching in the field of Ottoman studies and to facilitate links between SOAS and other individuals, institutions and associations with an academic interest in the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman societies.

The Centre’s activities are particularly focused on understanding how the Ottoman past is experienced and used in contemporary contexts. The post-Ottoman focus of the Centre is further emphasised by an exceptionally cross-disciplinary profile of its Members. The Centre Members belong to all three of the SOAS Faculties and are critically engaged in dealing with the Ottoman past and its cultural, artistic, legal, linguistic, anthropological, political and economic re-appropriations in centres and peripheries of the former Empire.

On the afternoon of the 27th of June at the SOAS Khalili Lecture Theatre, from 4 to 6 pm, we will officially open the Centre with a keynote address by Professor Edhem Eldem of Boğaziçi University, somewhat provocatively titled 'Rescuing Ottoman History from the Turks', which will be accompanied by a short audiovisual presentation on Ottoman courtly and musical links with the United Kingdom by Dr Emre Aracı. It will be followed by a reception and a musical performance by a SOAS-based student Ottoman ensemble. The event is free and no registration is required.

On the 28th of June in Room 116 at SOAS Main Buildings, we will hold the Centre's Inaugural Colloquium, featuring a series of distinguished scholars who will address, inter alia, the question of the future of Ottoman and post-Ottoman studies from the variety of disciplinary angles. Presenters will include Professor Butrus Abu-Manneh of University of Haifa, Professor Ben Fortna of SOAS, Dr Yael Navaro-Yashin of University of Cambridge, Professor Wendy Shaw of University of Bern and Dr Fred Anscombe of Birkbeck, University of London. Respondents will include Dr Colin Imber of University of Manchester, Dr Stefano Taglia of SOAS, Dr Ayça Çubukçu of LSE, Professor Doris Behrens-Abouseif of SOAS and Dr Philipp Wirtz of SOAS. The Centre’s Co-Chairs, Dr Senija Čaušević and Dr Vanja Hamzić, will also address the Colloquium. The event is free but due to limited space please register via or

Professor Edhem Eldem is a professor at the Department of History of Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, and has taught as visiting professor at Berkeley, Harvard, at the EHESS, EPHE, and ENS in Paris, and has been a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He has worked on the Levant trade, Ottoman funerary epigraphy, the socio-economic development of Istanbul, the Ottoman Bank, archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, and late Ottoman first-person narratives and biographies.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Emre Aracı has made original contributions to the scholarship of Turkish music through his pioneering research focusing on the European musical practice in the Ottoman court in the 19th century. In 2012, Ankara State Ballet premiered Murad V based on Aracı’s libretto and research on the life and original compositions of one of the most productive composer sultans of the Ottoman Empire.